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Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch


The Agassizhorn measures 3,946 m in height and is literally in the shadow of its big neighbour, the Finsteraarhorn. The summit route via the Agassizjoch is primarily used as an alternative or training tour. The mountain's fame has its origins less in its importance for alpinism than in the highly dubious reputation of its namesake:

Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) was a well-known Swiss glaciologist who spread racist theories after moving to the USA. Based on the thesis that blacks and whites had each come into being in separate divine acts of creation, Agassiz postulated a racial hierarchy in the essay The Diversity of Origin of the Human Races (1850), according to which dark-skinned people represented a lowly race incapable of culture, capable only of simple work and had to be treated accordingly.[1] According to Agassiz, blacks and whites were created on earth in the form of a race.

Around 80 places on Earth and in the solar system, as well as some animal species, were named after Agassiz. It was not until the US civil rights movement gained strength that a critical reappraisal of Agassiz's racist theories began in the USA.[2]

Various places in Switzerland have been renamed in the meantime. An application to rename the Agassizhorn was rejected by the three local communities of Grindelwald, Guttannen and Fieschertal, as well as by the Federal Council in 2007.

In response to a renewed request from the "Démonter Louis Agassiz" committee, the municipal councils of Guttannen, Grindelwald and Fieschertal discussed the issue again in 2020. All three councils decided to stick to the joint decision of July 2010 and to refrain from renaming the Agassizhorn. "The three municipalities clearly distance themselves from the crime of slavery and racism and thus from the dark machinations of Louis Agassiz. However, renaming the Agassiz Horn cannot undo what has happened in history. The communities condemn all racism, which unfortunately still happens today, and do everything to combat and stop it. Every individual is called upon to counter discrimination and to work for a fairer society without exclusion."[3]

[1] Barth, Hans; Fässler, Hans: "Agassiz, Louis", in: Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (HLS), version of 23.03.2018. Online:, consulted 27.12.2021.

[2] idem

[3] consulted on 27.12.2021.